Do you think that Cunegonde was leading Candide on and shared in her brother's opinion that Candide was beneath their nobility?
I feel that Cunegonde lead Candide, giving him just enough to hang on. She did not even mention marriage really until she became hideous and no one else would have her.
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I do not believe that Cunegonde was simply leading Candide on. In fact, like the other women in the novel, she does not seem to have power over her own fate, and she does not have the chance to express her opinion on the matter before her life is changed by one man or another: her father, Don Issachar, the Grand Inquisitor. Candide is the only man in her life who has not wronged her in some way, and he actually wants to marry her, which is more than any other man has done. Like the old woman (the Princess of Palestrina), Cunegonde is perhaps opportunistic, but she is not malicious, like many of the men in the novel. It is true that she considers marrying the governor of Buenos Aires, but that marriage would be one of convenience; the old woman tells her, "My lady, you have seventy-two quarterings and not one penny;...are you going to insist on your absolute fidelity? You have already been raped by the Bulgars; a jew and an inquisitor have enjoyed your favors; miseries entitle one to privileges. I assure you that in your position I would make no scruple of marrying my lord the governor, and making the fortune of Captain Candide." The Baron, Cunegonde's brother, has an irrational distaste for Candide's social status and does not want his sister to marry him, even though she should have no pretensions, as Candide tells him, "I have rescued your sister...; she has many obligations to me, she wants to marry me."
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